The craft store where Anda[A] works is closed for the summer solstice, so A is at the park, sitting on a picnic blanket with A's back to a tree and embroidering geometric designs on one of A's shirts (not the one A is wearing). A was hoping to finish this cuff before sunset, but it's warm and there's a soft breeze blowing and there's really no rush, is there, so once he gets to a good stopping point A folds up the shirt and lies down on the blanket for a nap. What a lovely day it is to be alive.
"Is this a LARP or are you actually claiming this vehicle is nonreductionist. True answers only please. Not that I don't appreciate you picking me up whatever it is."
"I'm not a philosopher either."
"So, I can see how that is the sort of sentence someone would produce in response to the thing I said, but it doesn't actually answer my question about what physical principles you believe are involved in the function of this carpet. I was under the impression that nobody used the word 'magic' to refer to nonfictional things. Unless you were being sarcastic."
"Cars fly because of magic, true answer. What's your thingy."
Someone on this conveyance is a fascinating case study in epistemic failure and it only probably is the one who's not fully oriented to time and place. Or this actually is a portal fantasy plot. "It's my handcomp. It's a portable computer that usually has a network connection but currently doesn't."
"That's not a handcomp," and then she frowns. "That's not a pocket," she tries, which is weird because she uses the exact same phonemes as her first statement to do it.
"Auugh, what did you just do with your voice words??"
"This does translation." She touches her headscarf demonstratively. "But sometimes it's not great at it."
". . . Magic translation." That sounds insane but also there really isn't a better non-dream explanation for what Anda[A] just observed. It's a very good thing A is already sitting down so A can't fall down. "What language are you speaking on the other end? Is it connected to software translation or is the magic doing the computation? Is it interacting directly with my brain and I'm just perceiving it as you emitting sound waves?"
"Zhmir. I don't know, it was a gift and I'm still not a seamster or a philosopher. But it's probably not part of the innernet."
"Okay so is this the normal world--I mean the world I started in--but magic's a secret or did I go to a parallel universe? Uh, does this universe have Karna Farlee-Bakh* and zebras and Antarctica and the great ziggurat at Pern Khalorn‡?"
*A person with a similar slate of accomplishments to Isaac Newton.
‡A city in what Earth would call the Nile River delta.
"Zebras is the only thing this," headscarf touch "turns into something I've heard of."
"Probably a different world, then, and not the distant future after magic gets invented. . . . If I don't pop back to Firstplanet next time I sleep everyone[A] is gonna think I'm braindead, aren't A."
She shrugs, or maybe doesn't react at all and is just shifting her position.
"How long were you alone in the desert?"
"Not very long, I think. Less than an hour after I woke up, and I wasn't hungry or thirsty like I'd be if I slept for more than an hour or two."
"Hm. Well, I'll get you to the city, and if it's possible to get in touch with wherever you're from someone there probably will."
"Thank you." It doesn't feel likely, that Anda will be able to get home easily from here, but that's clearly a prior acquired from fiction and maybe in real life once someone has been magically transported to another universe they can get back and forth easily, what would Anda know.
"Do people show up from other worlds a lot, around here? I don't think it's ever happened where I'm from."
"Not that I've heard of. But I don't live out in the middle of a desert because I like to keep up with all the latest goings-on."
"Valid." Anda[A] shuts up for a bit, contemplating what jobs A might be able to get if A's stuck here and whether random aliens can learn to make magic rugs or you have to be born with it and trying not to be sad about all the plans A had and the people A's going to miss.
The initial speck in the distance has by this point in their flight separated into a little cluster of light-dots. By the time they're most of the way to it, the lights reveal themselves to be lanterns of the same sort which beams out into the carpet's path. There are also a number of small tents, some in a huddle and a few more scattered, set up on a stadium-sized patch of confusingly-lush grass. Several dozen sheep are currently making their home there as well.
Well crud, if the people[A] here live in tents Anda[B] feels bad about imposing on A by being randomly homeless. Hopefully B'll be able to find a job quickly. "Person from an alternate universe" is a good sign for comparative advantage and a bad sign for transaction costs, but probably humans everywhere need someone to supervise the kids and keep the account books and clean things and suchlike even if Anda isn't well-positioned for any fun technological synergies.
"What's your name?" If there's about to be more people around it's going to become useful.
"Neidura. . . . I forgot yours."
"Anda." Forgetting a name after hearing it once is so not surprising. "Hello, Neidurah," Anda repeats back to fix the memory and check the pronunciation.
"Oh, it wasn't vv-something? - Hello."
"The full name is Anda Vrin-Vanse, but the Vrin-Vanse bit is only important if you know another Anda and need to specify which one. It's my parents' given names, so like my dad is Vrin Sandel-David and so on." Hopefully Anda isn't the local language's word for "butts" or something.